Saturday 15 May 2021

The Netherlands won’t join EU’s fraud public prosecution office


The Netherlands is opting out of plans to develop a European public prosecutors office to focus on fraud involving EU subsidies, the Volkskrant reported on Friday.

A majority of the Dutch parliament are not in favour of ‘more Europe’ during the election campaign, the paper said. The EPPO would be able to launch criminal probes and prosecute individuals.

While the cabinet does back the setting up of a new anti-fraud body, VVD, Christian Democrat, Socialist and minor party MPs consider it would be a ‘direct attack’ on the sovereignty of nation states and a further shift of power to Brussels, the paper said.

The plan to set up the pan-European body was launched in 2013.

Justice minister Ard van der Steur, speaking on Thursday just before he resigned, warned MPs that opting out will not allow the Netherlands to ignore the new anti-fraud body. In addition, if the Netherlands wants to investigate cross-border fraud, it will have to do this with the EPPO, he said.

Supporters of the EPPO say every year at least €50bn in value added tax is lost due to cross-border crimes and argue that the EPPO will take the EU’s fight against crime to a new level, beyond mere cooperation.

Sweden has also opted out of the EPPO set up, the Volkskrant said.

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